The third episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season was released last week, so now the fanbase is anxiously awaiting the release of the fourth and final episode, which will bring an end to Clementine’s story once and for all. Fans have all kinds of theories about how the series will end, but it seems the CEO of Skybound Games, the company that took over the game’s development after Telltale Games shut down last year, has offered what might be a vague hint about the story’s ending (or endings). Be aware that this article will contain potential SPOILERS for the final episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
Yesterday (January 22), Reddit user I_liek_TF2_and_memes made a post about how they think Clementine dying at the end of the season is too obvious of an ending, and therefore concludes that she will likely actually live. One of the comments in this post was made by Peakey421 and states, “There’s gotta be at least one [ending] where [Clementine] dies. Half of the community believes the best ending is her dying and the other half believes the best ending is her living. They want to deliver on endings everyone will be satisfied with. This is such a split opinion there almost HAS to be one with her dying and one with her living[.]” This comment refers to how a portion of the fanbase believes that Clem’s story can’t truly end until she dies, so having her die would be the most satisfying conclusion to her tale, while others care about her too much and don’t want her to die and would rather have a satisfying ending that involves her living (though a fan-made poll suggests that the split isn’t exactly 50/50). Things got really interesting, however, when the CEO of Skybound Games, Ian Howe, responded to Peakey421’s comment.
Howe, whose Reddit username is SkyboundIan and who has been active in The Walking Dead: The Final Season‘s sub-Reddit since Skybound took over the game, responded to the above mentioned comment last night by saying, “Please remember this post when you’ve all played 404 :)” For those unfamiliar with the vernacular, “404” refers to season 4, episode 4.
So… What does this mean? Well, the most obvious conclusion to come to is that Howe seems to be confirming that The Walking Dead: The Final Season will have multiple endings: at least one in which Clem will die and at least one other in which she lives. Why else would he tell everyone to remember a post that describes exactly that? Also, by the time Howe gave this response, it had been almost a week since he had posted or commented anything else on Reddit, so clearly making this comment was important enough to warrant him doing so.
But beyond just a simple glance, there are a few ways that Howe’s comment can be interpreted. For one thing, he could simply mean what he appears to mean; that The Walking Dead: The Final Season will have different endings depending on the choices you’ve made and that some of those paths lead to Clem dying, while others let her live. This could be Howe giving fans some cautionary advice, letting them know that it’s possible for Clem to die, but that her death is determinant, not mandatory. Given this information, players might play the final episode very differently if they think Clem’s death is a possibility, as opposed to the player assuming that she will die no matter what or live no matter what.
However, Howe’s wording in his comment is interesting. He doesn’t state that he wants players to remember the post while they’re in the process of playing the final episode; rather, he wants players to remember the post “when you’ve all played 404.” He wants us to remember the post after we’ve completed the episode, not during it. It’s very possible that this could be nothing and that Howe didn’t think about his choice of words as hard as I am right now. But even if this choice of words is deliberate, it doesn’t seem to change much. If Howe wants us to remember the post after the episode rather than during it, it could simply mean that once a player has finished the episode, if they got an ending they didn’t like (if they wanted Clem to live, but they got an ending where she dies, for example), then they can rest assured knowing that they can replay the episode (or the season, or the series) with the hope that they’ll get an ending they like more, as opposed to assuming that the ending they didn’t like is the only possible ending.
Another possibility is that maybe Howe is referring to only a specific part of Peakey421’s comment that he wants us to remember. Most of the comment discusses how some players want Clem to die and others want Clem to live, but the line that sticks out is “They want to deliver on endings everyone will be satisfied with.” Maybe Howe is just referring to this line, how the team working on The Walking Dead: The Final Season is creating multiple endings and that there will be one for everyone, even if they all end with Clem dying or they all end with her living. However, if this is the case, then Howe could have pointed out that line in particular, rather than leaving a vague comment about the post in general. But in leaving a vague comment, Howe is kind of able to sort of confirm that the game will have multiple endings without actually confirming it, so he’s technically not spoiling anything.
It’s also possible that Howe means to disconfirm the notion of multiple endings. As the CEO of the company making the game, he knows how it’s going to end. It’s possible that, like with Season One, The Walking Dead: The Final Season will only have a single possible ending, but it’s a perfect ending that will leave everyone satisfied (if not emotionally wrecked), regardless of whether they originally wanted Clem to live or die. If Howe believes that the only ending available is the perfect end to Clem’s story, then maybe he’s just saying to remember this post in jest, so we can all look back on the time that the community was split based on what they wanted the ending to be and laugh, knowing that the one ending we got was perfect.
I suppose it’s also possible that when Howe said to “remember this post,” he was referring to I_liek_TF2_and_memes’s overall post about how they think Clem won’t die, rather than the specific comment by Peakey421 that he responded to. I don’t think this is terribly likely since Howe knows how to use Reddit and likely wouldn’t accidentally respond to a single comment when he means to leave a comment on a post. But let’s entertain this possibility for a moment anyway, just so we can completely exhaust everything that Howe might mean with his comment.
As previously mentioned, I_liek_TF2_and_memes’s post was one in which they state that they think Clem won’t die since, with all the allusions to Season One in The Walking Dead: The Final Season, it would seem like too obvious of an ending. If this is the post that Howe wants us to remember after finishing the final episode, then maybe he means to imply that I_liek_TF2_and_memes is correct and that the writers have a better twist in mind for the ending, since everyone is expecting Clem to die. Or maybe Howe is implying that Clem will in fact die, but that she will die in a completely unexpected way that no one will be able to predict and that isn’t an allusion to the first season, even if they are expecting Clem’s death in general. Again, due to the vagueness of Howe’s response, it’s almost impossible to tell exactly what he means.
Of course, it’s very possible that, in spite of all my overthinking, none of these interpretations of Howe’s comment are correct and he means something else entirely – something that, once we all actually have played the final episode and look back on this Reddit post, will make us go, “Oh, THAT’S why he wanted us to remember this post!” Or maybe he didn’t really mean anything with his comment and he’s just trolling us all. What do you think about all this? Personally, I’m on Team Clem Shouldn’t Die.